Graduate Studies Overview

The Department of English at Mississippi State is home to a small and vibrant MA program. We offer an MA in English with emphases in Literature, Creative Writing, Linguistics, and TESOL. Students work closely with a distinguished faculty that includes renowned poets and novelists and recognized experts in British and American literature, linguistics, and composition and rhetoric. With a flexible curriculum, students can pursue their interests while honing their skills in writing, research, and literary interpretation.

The department offers MA students many opportunities for professional development and growth. The department frequently provides funding to support graduate students’ travel to present research at academic conferences. Teaching Assistantships are available to qualified applicants in their first year, and TAs receive extensive training and support in the teaching of writing. Mississippi State is home to The Mississippi Quarterly and The Jabberwock Review, which employ graduate students as editorial assistants.

General Program Requirements

Applicants to the MA program in English must have a BA in English or 18 hours in English beyond composition requirements. Minimum required GPA is 3.0. International applicants must submit a TOEFL score. The GRE is not required.

Students who wish to be considered for the MA in English with Creative Writing emphasis must submit a writing sample (10-12 pages poetry, 12-20 pages of fiction, or up to 30 pages of a combination of both) directly to the Director of Creative Writing.

The MA in English at Mississippi State is generally completed in two years. Students complete 30 (thesis option) or 33 (non-thesis option) hours. A course in research methods (EN 8103), foreign language competency (i.e. fourth semester undergraduate coursework or equivalent), and a comprehensive MA exam are required of all students

For more information about the department and its programs, contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Shalyn Claggett.


Teaching Assistantships are available for qualified applicants. TAs in the English Department may be assigned a range of duties, including tutoring in the University Writing Center, assisting faculty members in courses, and teaching sections of Composition I and Composition II. TAs will receive a partial tuition waiver (70%) as well as a small stipend for living expenses. All applications for our MA program will automatically also be considered for a TA position—there is no separate application.  For any questions about TAships, please contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Shalyn Claggett.

In addition to Graduate Teaching Assistantships, the department offers several scholarships, including the Dr. Richard Patteson Endowed Scholarship, The William H. Magruder Memorial Scholarship, Howell H. Gwin Scholarship, and the Eugene Butler Scholarship in Creative Writing. For more information on these and other scholarships, please visit our scholarship page. All required material for scholarship applications is due by March 15.